I was kind of scared, that first day when I met you.
You were my first contact with death.
You were the first dead person I had ever seen.
Yes, I said person.
Don’t let me ever forget that you, and all the patients I will see in my medical career – are people.
What kind of stories could you have told? How much life experience had you picked up in your years on this earth? What did you do? How did you live?
You knew people. People knew you.
Somewhere, you were someone’s loved one.
Someone wept when you died.
For our benefit, those who wept were denied the finality of a graveside service. There was no earth thudding down heavily onto a casket in the ground. No flowers mingling with the dirt.
How long would it be before your body would finally be put to rest?
From dust we are made, and to dust we will return.
You became nameless. Your sole identity tied up in the cadaver tag around your ankle.
Until that day when we met you.
That was the day that we named you George. You had been cadaver #XYZ for quite a while already, but on that day you became George to us.
For seven weeks you were “our” cadaver.
For seven weeks we explored your body. We looked at the innermost parts of you – things you yourself had never seen! For seven weeks we learnt about anatomy in a way that cannot be simulated.
The learning experience that you gave us is irreplaceable.
Thank you, George.
We won’t forget.